Since the release of their debut EP Swag Hag, Memphis siblings Dark Sister have been proving that witchy, bratty, feminist-positive hip-hop can be pretty damn fun. The duo of Jess and Tiffany cast a spectral 808 spell on us; download their EP for free and catch their 10 x 4 mini-interview with us!
1. Your most memorable show?
Jess: Our first show will always really stand out to me. We put so much time and thought and love and hype into that. It was really turnt up and fucking nuts. That’s the one where we poured blood on ourselves. I’m also still really stoked on our performance at Tour De Fun recently. It feels so good to play as a part of the DIY community in middle Tennessee, surrounded by about 1000 people who had been riding their bikes all day and were all dancing and freaking out. So beautiful.
Tiffany: Man, pour blood on yourself once and you’ll never hear the end of it. On the flip side, we played a really awful show on Halloween with David Liebe Hart. The bar was called Gilligan’s. We dressed up as reptilian overlords, and a Macho Man Randy Savage was thrusting his pelvis on the front of the stage the entire time. Jess said “Fuck this,” put down her mic and started ballet dancing…kind of wish I didn’t remember that one, we didn’t even get free drinks.
2. Is any aspect of fame important and if yes, why’s that?
T: I would not say fame itself is important at all, but fame can be powerful. Famous people have a great potential to guide others – down a negative or a positive path. The platform that fame can provide is what is important.
J: As far as being “famous” or well known… that would be cool but I’m not too concerned with it. It’s not a driving force at all. I love it when someone says they relate to a song of ours. That’s what I really want. It makes me a little giddy to hear that someone “gets it” and likes it for that reason. I want to reach out through music and let the freaks know they aren’t alone… to empower the feminine perspective and express myself all at the same time. Is that fame? I guess just the aspect of reaching someone I never would have known otherwise and relating to them is the only aspect of fame that interests me.
3. What goes in your coffee?
T: Coconut milk creamer and agave nectar if we’re talking regular coffee. (I brew mine in a chemex.) Honey and cinnamon lattes are the jump. Jessi and I also invented our own drink called the Witch’s Brew. It contains almond syrup and a mix of cold brew and hot shots that takes you to the next dimension.
J: Soy or almond milk, or that fancy coconut almond milk. Lots of love. I like it when Kim makes my coffee. She’s my good friend/favorite barista who taught me all my barista skills. She’s been making me cortados lately.
4. What does underground and mainstream mean to you?
J: To me mainstream means top 40 radio or something like that. What is broadcasted to the masses, and created for the purpose of selling the product. Underground is the stuff that is made out of the desire to express, or simply to create, or to have fun. Then there is a bunch in between. I don’t know what that’s called.
T: For the most part, underground to me is music that comes straight from source energy – it’s a more raw expression of emotion and feeling. Mainstream music is created in order to garner profits….underground is the home-cooked meal and mainstream is the chain restaurant….like Chili’s or some shit. It can occasionally be satisfying, but for the most part it’s artifical and way overpriced. Even if the home-cooked meal is unedible, it was made with genuine care, effort, and intent.
5. Should music be free?
T: Absolutely. I know that I personally make music for it to be heard. Making money is a nice afterthought, but I would rather people get a chance to hear me than alienate listeners by making them pay. There is so much out there these days…it’s an honor for someone to even take the time to listen, in my book. Pay to come to shows, and if it’s a free show, slang a donation or buy merch. Those are the things that artists can use to profit.
J: The physical or digital “item” of music being a track or EP or album or what have you, should be distributed as the artist desires at the price they desire. Same for shows I think.
6. What defines your music-making process?
T: Togetherness, sleep deprivation, cackling.
7. Indispensable outfit?
J: Boots, cutoff shorts, black shirt with something you’re into printed on it, jewelry fitting to your mood, a hair tie on your wrist in case shit gets messy. Tights in the winter.
T: No outfit is complete without leopard print and visible weapons that double as accessories. When it comes to jewelry, gold over everything. At least 3 rings. I also like to keep some stones on me: a moonstone in the left pocket and a sunstone in the right is a good combo. I wear a pouch full of different ones around my neck sometimes. Asymmetrical earrings. Also boots only – you can get your stomp on at any time.
8. A film or book that greatly influenced your music?
J: There is a book called Dark Sister but we haven’t read it haha. Movies like The Crush and Suspiria.
T: Both of those films and Thee Psychick Bible.
9. Your current favorite song?
J: Tiffany’s is ‘Mansion World’ by Deadsy, which kinda made it my favorite song also… but ‘Archangel’ by Burial kinda flits in and out of my favorite spot and it’s in there right now again. Also been listening to ‘Sphragistic’ by Fine Peduncle a bunch.
T: Yeah, ‘Mansion World’ is really important to me…also ‘Return of The Mack’ by Mark Morrison. I wish I could have ‘Cheaters’ by Teengirl Fantasy playing on a constant loop as a sort of life soundtrack.
10. Raging or chilling out?
J: Raging! Chilling out!!! A really chill rager.
T: I’m usually chillin’, but my mind is always raging, you feel me? I like to lay in bed and have food sitting on my stomach as I consume it.
Published June 14, 2012.